The Romanian Ferrari Club

Posted October 15, 2014

The Romanian Ferrari Club

Two huge transport carriers pulled into the grounds of Chateau d’Artigny. Painted bright red, yellow and blue, at first glance, they looked like circus trucks. Closer inspection revealed distinctive prancing horse logos and the words Racing for Romania emblazoned on the sides. The Romanian Ferrari Club had arrived! 

Sort of. This was the vanguard: a special team of ‘roadies’ sent to smooth the way for their super rich bosses. Their job was to offload the gleaming sports cars and line them up, some 15 in total, in front of the chateau. They also carried mountains of suitcases, holdalls and garment carriers into the hotel lobby.  

We arrived in our 4x4 (more heavy hippo than prancing horse), following a six hour drive from the Eurotunnel. As every available parking space at the hotel entrance was now occupied by a Ferrari, we had to drag our suitcase up the long gravel drive to reception. We couldn’t stay cross for long though. The very sight of so many Ferraris in one place made our hearts skip a beat.  There was an air of excitement inside the hotel too where the staff were scurrying about, being super-attentive.

Early the next morning we awoke to the deep throaty growl of car engines being started and warmed up. The owners and their WAGS were gathered on the hotel forecourt (the men were oligarchy types; the women were all big hair, designer sunglasses and statement handbags). They appeared happy and relaxed, at ease with such an overt show of wealth. One after the other they slid into the opulent interior of their car and roared off to explore the sites of the Loire Valley. We tried not to gawp but failed. 

The last time we’d stayed in this hotel was on our honeymoon. The year was 1989, the same year that saw a bloody uprising in Romania. Nicolae Ceausescu, the Communist leader was overthrown; he and his wife were executed by firing squad. Needless to say, the Romanian Ferrari Club didn’t exist in 1989. Why would it? There were no Romanians (aside from the ruling elite) with super-fortunes back then. The club, comprising of some 25 members, was only formed in 2008. It could, however, be welcoming more members soon.  

According to The Wealth Report 2103,  the number of people with super-fortunes living in Romania is set to increase by 34 percent in the next ten years. 

Times may have changed but one thing remains constant. Every car, no matter how luxurious the model, needs petrol. We left the chateau on the same day as the Ferrari Club, they of course racing off in front of us. We’d only driven a couple of miles down the road when we came across them in a petrol station, filling their tanks with fuel. 

I could imagine the petrol station attendant describing his day: “Fifteen Ferraris. All arrived at once. I swear I’m not making it up.”

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